Khaled Hosseini is one of the most admired Afghani authors of the 21st century. He is best know for works such as The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns that explore the hardships of living in Afghanistan during the Soviet Invasion and Taliban regime. This paper will discuss the life and work of Khaled Hosseini with special emphasis on the effect on women in Afghan society in the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns.
Khaled Hosseini was born on March 4, 1965. He is the eldest of five children, and was born in Kabul, Afghanistan where his father worked for the foreign ministry and his mother taught Persian literature. Hosseini’s father was relocated to work in Tehran, where Hosseini’s passion for Persian literature grew and inspired him to write short stories of his own. In 1973 the Afghan King, Zahir Shah was overthrown by his own cousin, Daoud Khan, in a bloodless coup. In 1976, Hosseini’s father was again relocated to Paris where Khaled and his family moved. Only two years after Daoud Khan’s reign, he was overthrown by a communist faction, and killed. Hosseini’s family, now wary of the Soviet impact in Afghanistan, were granted political asylum in the United States.
Although Hosseini struggled with English in his first year of high school, he was greatly inspired by John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, to continue his passion for writing. Determined to make ends meet for him and his family, after graduating high school in 1984 he enrolled in Santa Clara University to study biology, and later earn a his bachelor’s degree in 1988. Hosseini became a practicing internist after he gained his Medical degree at the University of California. Hosseini joined the Kaiser Permanente Health Maintenance Organization and settled in Mountain View, California with his wife, Roya, to start a family.
Throughout Hosseini’s medical studies he felt it was his responsibility to tell the world about the country he knew, before it was consumed with war, so he published his first novel The Kite Runner. He told the story of two Afghan boys who’s lives undertake different paths with the events of the war. “The Kite Runner spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, and returned to the list five years after its initial appearance” (Khaled Hosseini Biography).
In 2003, following the success of his first novel, Hosseini returned to Afghanistan after twenty seven years. Where he felt devastated and shocked the remains of his country. In 2006 he joined the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees, from war zones around the world. Since 2003 Hosseini had been working on his second novel which focuses on the effect of women during the Soviet Invasion and under the Taliban dictatorship. A Thousand Splendid Suns, like the first novel became an international bestseller, while The Kite Runner became a highly acclaimed motion picture. Khaled Hosseini gave up his medical practice to write and continue his work for the United Nations. (Khaled Hosseini Biography; "Khaled Hosseini | Biography)
A Thousand Splendid Suns is divided into four parts. In part one we meet Mariam. Mariam lives with her Nana in a kolba and is the illegitimate child of a wealthy cinema owner from Herat. Mariam praised the ground her father, Jalil walked on. But when her mother kills herself and she’s sent to live with her father, she realizes that she’s the personification of shame to her him. Jalil marries Mariam off to Rasheed, a shoe make from Kabul who turns out to be an abusive husband.
In part two of the novel we meet Laila. She was born on the same day the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Due to the fact that her older brothers are off at war with the Soviets, Laila’s mother is in deep depression. Laila tells about her best friend Tariq, who she later falls in love with, and about her days during and after the Soviet Invasion. The day Tariq tells Laila that he’s leaving Kabul due to the bombs reigning down on the city, they spontaneously end up...
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